Last month the Blackboard Greenhouse Program announced the new Blackboard Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds, with the expressed goal of fostering “greater educational innovation in virtual worlds such as Active Worlds, There and Second Life.”

If you’re not collaborating with colleagues to submit an application for that $25,000 grant, but just want to learn more about virtual worlds online – what they are, where to find them, what people do in them, why people are talking about them – I recommend an informal series of articles about Second Life published online this year by MIT’s Technology Review.

In the most recent article, published earlier this week, Erica Naone interviews John Zdanowski, the CFO of Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life. In the interview, Zdanowski discusses the real-world value of “Linden dollars” – the monetary currency of Second Life – and machinations of that virtual world’s “in-world” economy.

A virtual world may be the location to beta-test that idea for a business you’ve been developing and play it against the “virtual hand” of the in-world market – calling all prospectors, budding entrepreneurs and arm-chair economists!

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